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Do you know how your baby develops in the second trimester?

10 Oct 2016 2:58 PM -

You are now in the second trimester of pregnancy and you may be experiencing new or different pregnancy symptoms.  If you are not sure what changes you might expect to feel, take a look at my blog ‘Are you prepared for the second trimester of pregnancy?’.

Your baby is also changing and developing daily during the second trimester, and it is during this period where you have the chance to see your baby on another scan.  This usually occurs around the 20-week mark and you will have the opportunity to find out the sex of your baby.  I’ll give you a word of advice though, if you don’t want to know the sex of your baby, ask your sonographer to tell you to look away at the vital moment.  I made the mistake of not making that clear and got a sneak peek!

So what are some of the key developments for your baby during the second trimester?

Your baby starts to store your antibodies

During the second trimester, your antibodies, essentially your wonderful immune system, start to transfer through to your baby.  This means that over the remainder of your pregnancy, your baby's stores of antibodies increase which provides some protection against infectious diseases to your newborn in the first weeks and months of your baby’s life.  The levels of antibodies become more meaningful the longer into your pregnancy.

To put simply, if you have had chicken pox, your immune system develops antibodies to this virus therefore providing you with immune protection.  These antibodies are then transferred to your baby which it will store, and therefore offer it some protection until your baby can develop its own antibodies.  How great is that?!

Your baby’s hearing is developing

Your baby’s hearing starts to develop.  The first thing your baby starts to hear is your heart beat, and this can happen long before it hears your voice. 

Your baby will soon begin to hear your singing, your conversations with your partner, friends and family and it might jump when it hears a loud noise.  You might even find it starts moving when it hears a certain song.  My son enjoyed the ‘Cure’ in utero! 

Listening to your voice and those around you will mean that your baby can recognise these sounds and potentially people once they are out in the world.

Your baby looks distinctly human

Your baby’s facial features move into the correct positions, the eyelids start to open and close, your baby can suck and swallow, and it will also start rhythmic chest contractions which will come in handy when it’s time to take a breath on the outside.

The cute button nose is visible on a scan, as are the fingers and toes which are adorned with nails and your baby is starting to store some fat under their skin. 

Your baby’s movements get stronger and more coordinated

Whilst you may not feel your baby move until approximately 20 weeks, once you feel the kicks, punches and rolls you will notice they become regular, in a distinct sleep and wake pattern.  Unfortunately for you, these movements may become stronger as soon as you rest, as the rocking motion of your movements can lull your baby to sleep.  This will also become apparent during the first few months of life and beyond when rocking, walking and swaying is the only way to get your newborn off to sleep!

Of course these are just a few of the amazing things your baby is doing during the second trimester. There are too many to list in one blog!

How can you support your baby’s development in the second trimester?

Ensure you are getting enough protein

Given the rapid growth your baby is undergoing in the second trimester your protein needs have also increased.  During pregnancy, your protein needs are approximately 60g per day and you can obtain protein from lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, quinoa, buckwheat, rice, chickpeas, tofu, lentils, nuts and seeds.

Incorporate fibre rich foods into your diet

Constipation is unfortunately a common experience for pregnant women so to address any digestion dysfunction ensure you are eating sufficient fibre on a daily basis.  Fibre helps to eliminate waste, keep the bowels moving and in good health, and can also reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes which can arise during the second trimester, so also good for your baby.  Fibre rich foods include fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes.

Eat some omega 3’s

Salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseeds all provide you with omega 3 fatty acids which provide nourishment for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system, as well as being good for you.  Include oily fish twice per week and add in the nuts and seeds on a daily basis.

Focus on eating Iron rich foods

Your need for iron increases during the second and third trimester due to the increased blood volume circulating around your body as well as the requirements for your baby’s growth.  During the second trimester, you will be likely tested for your iron levels to ensure they are adequate. 

To ensure you iron levels are adequate, include good quality lean red meat into your diet 2 to 3 times per week as well as vegetable rich sources such as tofu, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, beans and green leafy vegetables.  You can squeeze some lemon juice over your green leafy vegetables to aid iron absorption, and also improve the taste.

How can naturopath help you during the second trimester of pregnancy?

Your baby needs a wide variety of nutrients to support its growth and development in the second trimester.  If you experienced morning sickness during the first trimester, you may be finding it difficult to get back on track with your diet.  Your naturopath can provide advice and guidance in regards to your baby’s nutritional needs during the second trimester and beyond, and can also provide nutritional and/or herbal support to address any pregnancy symptoms you may be experiencing. 

If you would like some help through the second trimester and beyond, please feel free to call me at the clinic on 03 9620 9503 or via email on lee@lavidahealth.com.au 

In good health,


Lee Copeland
Naturopath
Melbourne CBD

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